September 6, 2018 10:54:08 AM
Slim Smith - [email protected]
Rick Young's decision to step down as interim president at East Mississippi Community College came as result of a perceived lack of confidence in his leadership from board members, according to the resignation letter presented to the EMCC Board of Trustees during Tuesday's meeting.
Young, who did not attend the board meeting and has not returned calls for comment on his decision, served less than four months in the interim position. He had previously served as EMCC president for 11 years before retiring in 2015 and had been at EMCC for 40 years as a teacher and administrator.
Young returned to EMCC as interim president following the resignation of Thomas Huebner, who left to become president at Meridian Community College in June.
EMCC Board Chairman Jimmie Moore provided The Dispatch a copy of Young's letter on Wednesday.
In the letter, Young detailed the major projects he had worked on during his role as interim president -- including completing the 2019 budget, restructuring the operation at Lion Hills Center to make it cost-effective, changing the organizational chart to install a vice president to run daily operations at each of the school's two campuses (Scooba and Mayhew) and overseeing the fall enrollment process.
Young then turned his attention to his decision to resign effectively immediately.
"My decision is based on a perceived lack of confidence and trust in my ability to provide competent leadership for our college at this time," the letter stated. "My perceptions are based on the way internal and external matters important to EMCC are approached and handled by some of our board members."
Young also wrote he believed he did not have the support of some faculty members.
"Some faculty members apparently fear that EMCC is returning to the way things were before Dr. Huebner was named president," he wrote. "If pay raises of approximately 40 percent over 10 years, the addition of new facilities and renovations, and becoming recognized internationally for excellence in many areas are not desirable, I am at a loss for words."
Moore said while Young had told him in a Monday phone conversation he felt there was a lack of confidence in his leadership, he didn't learn about Young's criticism of board members until he had received Young's resignation letter.
"I really don't know specifically what he meant in regard to the board members and what they may have done," Moore said. "All I can tell you is that he didn't mention it to me in our phone conversation. The first and only time I saw it was in his letter."
The board accepted Young's resignation Tuesday and also agreed on a new interim president.
"I talked to the candidate Wednesday and hope to hear back from that person either (Thursday) or Friday," Moore said. "At that point, the board will make that announcement."
Meanwhile, the search for a permanent president continues. Moore said eight candidates have applied so far. Applications will close on Oct. 1, he said.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]